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Networks on the hook and Sipp firms sweat: the week in news

Networks on the hook and Sipp firms sweat: the week in news

This week we discovered what footballers do when they retire, looked at a "game-changing" ruling by the High Court, and revealed that a banker at one of the UK biggest financial institutions had missed the International Women’s Day memo.

1) Banks miss gender parity memo

While the prevalence of #metoo and #timesup might have some people hoping that gender parity is on the horizon, when senior bankers of major financial institutions call regulatory officials "little lady" during a supervisory visit you realise how far there still is to go.

Megan Butler, director of supervision at the FCA, said at the Women in Finance Summit in London this week that "this sort of throwaway comment" should be left in the past, as she admitted just 13 per cent of FCA approved individuals at trading firms are women.

General insurance has the highest proportion of female approved individuals though it is still just 19.22 per cent. Ms Butler also revealed banks reported gender disparities of around 50 per cent for wages and 80 per cent for bonuses. She added: "We need to keep up the pressure for progress."

2) Networks on the hook

A "game-changing" ruling by the High Court has caused speculation that cases involving adviser networks could be re-opened.

A judge agreed with the Financial Ombudsman Service it would be "fair and reasonable" for Tenet to compensate investors for losses caused by a fraudster adviser who pleaded guilty to 37 charges of fraud in 2014, which amounted to losses of £2.9m.

Tenet argued the adviser had been carrying out unregulated activity beyond the terms of its contract with the network, effectively meaning he ceased to be on its appointed representative.

But some 70 complaints have been held up by this court case and FS Legal solicitor Tobias Haynes said he would be seeking to be reopen some of the cases where the Fos had ruled in favour of the network after this decision.

3) Rise of the robots

It’s finally happened: robots are employing humans to do their bidding. Schroders-backed robo-advice firm Nutmeg is said to be considering bring human advisers into the business, a move which rival Scalable Capital has already made.  

UBS SmartWealth co-head Shane Williams said robo-advice firms were starting to realise that customers also want the option to take advice, which could mean rebuilding their products or offering traditional advice sessions.

After years determining what the difference is between advice and guidance it’s ironic to see the robots pursuing the former. Now companies will have to work out how to beef up their propositions without hiking the low-cost fees on which they have built their businesses.

4) Fintech footballers

If you ever wondered what footballers do when they retire, it’s worth checking in on what former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen is up to.

Once England’s all-time record competitive goalscorer, Mr Owen is now investing in Global Crypto Offering Exchange, a platform that aims to let famous people launch their own currency, with the tokens used by fans of the celebrities to pay for the celebrity’s merchandise.